Undergrounders and Street Art

December 26, 2010

(To increase the font – hold the Ctrl key and keep pressing +)

It’s a vampire thing. What am I talking about? To the uninitiated, the images purveyed in the ever-changing street art scene can strike you as just mindless scribbles and doodles – but to those who really stop and take the time to seek out the hidden meanings of these mysterious lines – street art offers an intruiging peek into the underground culture.

What makes street art so fascinating to those who produce them and the people who pour over them for their hidden meaning – is that these are not just stuff that people put up on the spur of the moment on a whimp and fancy. Rather these are projects which are undertaken with as much dedication, energy and creative spirit as it takes to produce what we would usually term kosher art – as graffiti is still illegal in most cities – though some cities, such as Berlin are literally begging graffiti cognoscenti’s to deface their cities – street art has through the years acquired an underground and illicit flavor – my personal take based on my personal first hand experience about street art is it’s feared as most people simply don’t understand it.

My first encounter with ubderground street artist was not in the real world, but in the virtual; over there, I caught a group of undergrounders painting a virtual tank – my first reaction was, “this is rubbish!” To which the leader of the pack replied, “its rubbish to you because you don’t understand the philosophy of this medium.”

It has been nearly 10 years since that life changing conversation and I have agree that it takes effort, imagination and time to really understand the philosophy that goes into this art form –unfortunately, the term “underground,” can often be mistaken as sub-culture or even carry with it a hint of the subversive and oppositional – nothing can be further from the truth; it just means these people have their own ideas about how they define both personal and organizational success – I happen to know underground culture very well as I spend a lot of time in the underground mixing with these folk – some people may say that is a real waste of time; but that is only because they don’t take the trouble to stop, look and maybe step out of their own skin and seek out new experiences – for me, I derive a lot of inspiration from interacting with undergrounders and I take this back into the real world to enrich my life. If I am lost in the virtual or I need to get directions to get in or out of a secret passage, undergrounders are good to go – this documentary that I am watching now captures that underground mood, energy and spirit beautifully – I’ve seen at least 3 or 4 documentaries about street artist, most of them just don’t seem to be able to go beyond the veneer; but this one I hits it directly on the head! 

The pace is heady; the repertoire punchy and the narration covers all the bases.

I hope you catch all the parts of this great documentary, enjoy and remember graffiti is illegal in Singapore and many other countries. But using your imagination is perfectly legal.

Darkness 2011


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